TWO BROTHERS: JOHN W. IRONS AND W. W. IRONS.

                                                 BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD

                                             COWLEY COUNTY, KANSAS.

                                      "Biography is the only true history."  Emerson.

                    Biographic Sketches of Leading Citizens of Cowley County, Kansas.

                                   BIOGRAPHICAL PUBLISHING COMPANY.


                                                     CHICAGO, ILLINOIS,


[MARCH 1870]          PAGE 395.



JOHN W. IRONS, one of the oldest and best known citizens of Cowley County, Kansas, residing in Silver Dale Township, was born in Allegany County, Maryland, March 22, 1846, a son of Joseph and Susan (Harvey) Irons, who afterward moved to West Virginia. His father later lived with him in Kansas, at the age of 84 years. Mr. Irons had a sister who lived in Oklahoma, her name being Lizzie (Irons) Yager.

The Irons family moved back in 1861 from West Virginia to Maryland, where John W. Irons was living when the war broke out. He enlisted in Company B, 4th Reg., W. Va. Vol. Cav., and later in the 17th Reg., W. Va. Vol. Inf., and served three years as a private. After the war he returned to Maryland, where his father owned a farm, and remained there until his removal to the West, in 1869. He first took a claim in Chautauqua County, Kansas, and there cut a set of house logs. This claim he soon sold, and started for Cowley County, where he arrived in March, 1870, taking a claim in Silver Dale Township, where Silver Dale post office was later located. He stopped, at the outset, with Len Fetterman, having just $15 in his pocket, which he spent in breaking three acres of prairie. On these three acres he raised 120 bushels of corn, which he sold for $1.50 per bushel. He also planted a bushel of potatoes, with an axe and a hoe, but these were stolen by the Indians. On his arrival in the county, he worked for Mr. Fetterman (whose farm he afterward bought, in 1874), being employed in splitting rails. He earned about 50 cents per day, the wages paid being $1.00 per 100 rails. Provisions were very high: bacon was 33-1/3 cents per pound, coffee, 50 cents per pound, and flour, $7.50 per hundred pounds. He carried his provisions on foot from Arkansas City, and in the fall of 1870 furnished himself with venison and turkey meat. While on a trip from Cedar Vale, Kansas, to his own place, he passed a night at the home of Mr. Ray, who gave him a few pumpkin seeds, which he planted. He later divided quartered pumpkins among his neighbors, a quarter of a pumpkin then being more of a gift than a wagon load was later. He also bought a claim for $75, and the same week sold it for $75 and a mare. The mare he traded for a black colt, which in turn was traded to C. M. Scott for 10 lots in Arkansas City, the last two of which were sold for $1,000 in 1875.

His preemption, the northeast quarter of section 5, township 35, range 5 east, he sold in 1872, for $1,600 cash. He had broken 50 acres, set out a few peach trees, and built a cabin. He then engaged in buying and selling stock and real estate, and in a few months was making $70 per month in interest. In 1875, he went west and engaged in the cattle business on the plains, until 1879. He began work at $40 per month and in two weeks was made manager and transferred to Texas, in the employ of W. H. Kingsbury and Mr. Homesly, his salary being $1,200 per year. During that time he refused offers of $1,500 per annum, to enter the employ of others. In 1879 he went to the mines of California, where he made $40,000 the first year, but lost it all, and more, during the next six months. He met with many thrilling experiences in the West—once becoming lost in Red Mountain Pass in a heavy snow storm, and being three days and nights without food or blankets.

In 1882 Mr. Irons returned to Cowley County, Kansas, and was married to Emma Jane Harkleroad, whose father conducted a store at Silver Dale. They settled on the Fetterman farm, where they remained until the completion, in 1895, of their beautiful home. It was one of the handsomest in the county—being 75 feet long and 40 feet wide, with solid stone walls, 28 inches thick—and was designed by Mr. Irons. It was a model of convenience, and handsomely furnished throughout, the woodwork being of hard pine. There were two large cellars under the house, cellars being used exclusively for canned and fresh fruits. There were two large and handsome front parlors, each having a bay window, and off from the dining room was a large porch. The view from the front of the house, which faced the West, was picturesque and beautiful. Mr. Irons had 960 acres of land and had it planted to corn and small grain. He was an extensive cattle feeder, very often having several hundred head.

Politically, he was a Republican. His father, who was of Dutch descent, was an old line Whig before the Republican party came into existence. John W. Irons was elected county commissioner in 1898, and served in that capacity until January, 1901. He was the oldest resident on Grouse Creek.

Mr. John W. and Emma Jane Irons had five children: Joseph D.; David E.; John W., Jr.; Ruby; and one who was deceased.

Fraternally, he was a member of the G. A. R. post at Arkansas City. Religiously, he and his family were Methodists.

In addition to the view of Mr. Irons' house, the publishers of this work also present a picture of himself, wife and children, executed from a photograph taken several years ago,—both pictures being shown on foregoing pages.

It appears that W. W. (“Will”) Irons was a younger brother of John W. Irons.

The following is the only data I have on W. W. Irons, brother of John W. Irons...

Kansas 1875 Census, Silverdale Township, Cowley County, March 1, 1875.

Name                     age sex color              Place/birth              Where from

W. W. Irons           28 m     w                  Virginia             Maryland

[F. N.?] Irons         27   f      w                  Maryland                Maryland

A. Irons                     1 m     w                  Kansas

L.? Irons                   1 m     w                  Kansas


W. W. Irons, 30; spouse, Mrs.         , age not given. P. O. Address: SilverDale.

                                               FROM THE NEWSPAPERS.

W. W. Irons...

Winfield Courier, February 21, 1878.

                                                     Real Estate Transfers.

                         W. W. Irons, to Cemetery Association, 2 acres in ne 6, 35, 5.

R. E. Irons???...

Winfield Courier, March 14, 1878.

                                                     Real Estate Transfers.

                             R. E. Irons to Peter F. Haynes, part of lot 9, 6 35 5, $30.

(?) Irons...


Winfield Courier, April 25, 1878.

                                       SILVERDALE, KANSAS, April 13, 1878.

I am now writing from Grouse valley, one of the finest and most beautiful valleys in the state. For real romantic beauty it stands unrivaled. Its towering battlements of white limestone, which in some places rise abruptly and boldly from the very bed of the stream, forming beautiful little vales, make one think of a country of his childhood, perhaps far away. How strange it is when we realize that those immense walls of insensible rock were made up almost entirely of animals and organic life! While this globe was surrounded by a shoreless ocean the matter of which these rocks are composed was minute living animals. The testimony of these rocks proves it beyond a doubt. Their whitened skeletons testify more eloquently than words of their prehistoric existence; and yet how many there are who never even think for a moment that they are treading on the remains of an existence that lived and moved long before the Eternal, Coeternal One said, “Let there be light.” They burn them, they build houses with them, but never think what they are made of. But this is a letter, not an essay, on geology.

Wheat looks splendid in this section and bids fair to make a large crop.

I called on Messrs. Black, Splawn, Goatley, and Irons, who are industrious farmers and good citizens. Mr. Black was mine host, about the time the sun was on the meridian of Silverdale, and a right royal fellow was he. He was married but a short time ago, and I found Mrs. Black and him as happy as two clams on the bank of a beautiful lake.

District 35 is going to have a schoolhouse after a long, long siege of small talk and useless opposition. The friends of education have come out of the fight without a scar.


John Irons...

Arkansas City Traveler, October 8, 1879.

John Irons, formerly of Grouse Creek, has struck several rich mines in Colorado, and we are told can sell his interests out there for a snug fortune.

Wm. Irons...


Arkansas City Traveler, March 24, 1880.

Mr. Wm. Irons, Mr. G. Fisher, and several others are fixing for Colorado. They want to start as soon as grass comes. M. S. R.

W. W. Irons...

Arkansas City Traveler, October 13, 1880.

W. W. Irons, who has been rusticating in Colorado the past summer, returned last week. He will try it again in the spring, and thinks he can then make it pay.

J. W. Irons and W. W. Irons...

Arkansas City Traveler, December 1, 1880.

See the notice from Grouse Creek with reference to hunting and shooting on the farms in that vicinity.

                                                    NOTICE TO HUNTERS.

                                            LOWER GROUSE, Nov. 29, 1880.

We, the undersigned, hereby give notice that all persons found hunting or shooting on our respective farms on or after this date will be prosecuted for trespass.


(?) Irons...


Arkansas City Traveler, January 5, 1881.

Harkleroad and Irons are feeding a lot of steers for the spring market.

John W. Irons...

Arkansas City Traveler, April 20, 1881.

John W. Irons, of Grouse Creek, called upon us last Monday, and informs us he intends visiting the Gunnison country this summer. Mr. Irons is a pushing and energetic man as the improve­ments he has put on his farm, in the last few months, will testify. He has invested over $1,500 in cash, to say nothing about the labor. We wish him luck.

W. W. Irons and I. D. Harkleroad...

                                       LOCAL REAL ESTATE TRANSFERS.

Arkansas City Traveler, May 25, 1881.

C. F. Timmins to I. D. Harkleroad, s e 1/4 s 19 t 34 r 5.

Michael Harkins to W. W. Irons and I. D. Harkleroad, same tract.

J. W. Irons...

Arkansas City Traveler, December 20, 1882.

J. W. Irons paid us an appreciated visit while in the city Monday attending the stockmen’s meeting.

W. Irons (?)...

Arkansas City Traveler, April 18, 1883.

Mr. W. Irons, of Silverdale, shipped to Kansas City, yesterday morning, a carload of number one fat cattle; they were beauties. He will also have a car load of fat hogs ready for the June market.

W. W. Irons...

Arkansas City Traveler, June 27, 1883.

Smith Winchel of Grouse Creek takes the cake for big corn. He says that the stalks are so big and so high that hogs get lost in the field and imagine themselves in a pine forest and kill themselves rooting for burrs. This accounts for that hog W. W. Irons lost last week, we suppose.

J. W. Irons...

Arkansas City Traveler, January 16, 1884.

Mr. J. W. Irons, of Grouse, was in the city last week.

John W. Irons marries Emma Harkleroad...

Arkansas City Traveler, January 23, 1884.

MARRIED. IRONS-HARKLEROAD. At the residence of the bride’s parents in Silverdale Township, on Wednesday, January 16, 1884; Mr. John W. Irons and Miss Emma Harkleroad were united in the bonds of matrimony by Rev. H. S. Lundy. Mr. John W. Irons is one of the oldest residents on Grouse, and quite a prominent farmer and stockman, while his fair young bride has grown to womanhood in the township, and in this their union for weal or woe their hosts of friends wish them long life and happiness, which is most cordially echoed by the TRAVELER.

Winfield Courier, January 17, 1884.

During the week the Probate Judge has issued MARRIAGE LICENSES to:

                                             J. W. Irons to Emma J. Harkleroad.

J. W. Irons...


Arkansas City Republican, April 5, 1884.

J. W. Irons was in the Territory last week looking after the interests of his flock, and taking some 200 head that he has been feeding in the state during the winter back to the range. They have lost but about fifteen head this winter, but he says the rest have to stand twice in the same place to make a shadow. But they will loom up when grass comes.

Arkansas City Republican, April 12, 1884.

J. W. Irons, who lives ten miles east on Grouse Creek, was in the city last Saturday in the interest of the bridge bonds. He called in to see us in the afternoon. Mr. Irons is one of the principal farmers and stock men of his neighborhood. We are always glad to receive calls from such gentlemen.

Arkansas City Republican, April 26, 1884.

J. W. Irons was in the city Thursday looking after some lots he bought here several years ago when property was cheap, but which have now become valuable. He says that he finished planting corn more than two weeks ago, and that his neighbors have also finished, and that they have fine prospects for another good crop. Mr. Irons is farming and stock-raising on an extensive scale, and since he has decided to remain permanently where he now is, has succeeded well and made money fast. He says that he has tried Maryland, West Virginia, Colorado, and Texas, and has come to the conclusion that on Grouse Creek in Kansas is good enough place for him.

W. W. Irons...


Arkansas City Republican, Saturday, May 3, 1884.

W. W. Irons shipped his cattle Tuesday. Will had a carload of the finest cattle that has been fed or shipped from these parts lately.

J. W. Irons...


Arkansas City Republican, May 24, 1884.

There is now a great deal of talk of putting a grist mill on the creek, at J. W. Irons’s place. Mr. Irons says he will give two acres for a mill site. If this company does not put in the mill, we will put one in at this place inside of two years (when I say we, I mean the farmers of this neighborhood). It is a splendid mill site, and a race can be effected that will run five set of burrs, and with so little work that we will never notice the work we put on it, and we have the rock within three hundred yards of the mill site, to build the mill with; and the best of rock with which to build the dam, and then we can get a railroad down through this section to Arkansas City, then the grocers will not have to ship their flour from Wichita to keep out of the ring. We have one of the best mill sites in Cowley County, so look out for a boom for Grouse.

J. W. Irons...

Arkansas City Republican, May 31, 1884.

                                                            Silverdale Stubs.

J. W. Irons says if anyone sees his wild turkey, please do not kill him, as he would not take $10 for him.

W. W. Irons...

Arkansas City Republican, June 14, 1884.

W. W. Irons came into the office a few days since, and subscribed for THE REPUBLICAN. For THE REPUBLICAN, did you say? Of course, why not? Because he is a Democrat. Well, that is nothing, we have many Democratic subscribers on our list—real, jolly, whole-hearted fellows who never do a single wrong thing except vote the Democratic ticket. Why they do this is incomprehensible to us, but they do it, and, we suppose, cannot help it. Mr. Irons is one of the substantial farmers of Grouse Creek. He came to this county at an early day and “grew up with the country.” He raises large crops, buys and sells much stock, both cattle and hogs, and is rapidly improving in everything except his politics; and in that we are afraid he is regarded by his neighbors as one of their most substantial men, and is respected by all who know him, so it is possible that he may not be such a bad fellow, after all.

John (W.) Irons...

Arkansas City Republican, Saturday, August 30, 1884.

The farmers and stockmen of Silverdale Township, south of the Maple City road, have organized themselves into a protective association to prevent the killing of game on their farms and ranches, and offer $10 each for every prosecution made by any member of the association, and agree to stand by the person prosecuting to the very end of the law. Among the prime movers in the matter are I. D. Harkleroad, John Irons, Mr. Showalter, C. M. Scott, Drury Warren, Estus Brothers, Squire Coburn, and others. This will put a stop to a number of hunters camping on the farms and staying as long as a quail can be seen.

John W. Irons...

Arkansas City Republican, September 13, 1884.

A slight war on Grouse Creek occurred last Tuesday. Jno. W. Irons and Jas. Estus were the combatants.

Harkleroad and Irons...

Arkansas City Traveler, April 1, 1885.

                                                 Osage Live Stock Association.

Pursuant to call the above association met at Osage Agency on March 17th, 1885, with the following members of the association present or represented: G. M. Carpenter, L. C. Wait, Wm. Larimer, Virgil Herard, J. H. Pugh, Julian Trimbly, John Soderstrom, T. J. Gilbert, J. N. Florer, H. N. Hampton, P. Revard, P. M. Matthews, Gus Choteau, W. J. Pollock, A. C. Stitch, E. M. Hewins, R. T. Hampton, T. L. Rogers.

In the absence of the president and secretary, L. C. Wait was elected to the chair, pro tem, and H. P. Standley, acting secretary pro tem.

Meeting called to order and minutes of previous meeting read and approved.

The report of committee on by-laws received and action taken upon the same section as read, after which they were adopted unanimously as a whole.

In accordance with section 3 of the by-laws, the president appointed the following gentlemen as the Executive Committee for the transaction of the general business of the association until its regular meeting Sept. 30th: W. J. Pollock, G. M. Carpenter, H. H. Crane,

Julian Trimbly, Virgil Herard, Judge Rogers, and E. M. Hewins.

On motion the acting secretary was elected as honorary member of the Association.

On motion of J. N. Florer, seconded by T. J. Gilbert, it was decided for the purposes of the spring round up, that the Osage reservation should be divided into five districts, and the Kaw reservation into one, and each district send one man, each leaseholder on the reservation to send one man, and Messrs. Brown and Herard each to furnish four men for the round up, to meet at Osage Agency on Monday, May 18th, 1885.

On motion of J. N. Florer, seconded by T. J. Gilbert, that the Arkansas City TRAVELER be the official paper of the Osage Live Stock Association. Carried.

After the transaction of some other minor business, the meeting adjourned.

Below we append, by request, the names and addresses of the members of the association at this writing.

Florer, Gould & Ayres, Kaw Agency, Indian Territory.

Col. W. J. Pollock, Ponca Agency, Indian Territory.

T. J. Gilbert & Co., Arkansas City, Kansas.

Mrs. Jane Benvenue, Kaw Agency, Indian Territory.

B. F. Childs, Arkansas City, Kansas.

Virgil Herard, Elgin, Kansas.

Elgin Cattle Co., Elgin, Kansas.

Wait, King & Pugh, Elgin, Kansas.

Gus Choteau, Pawhuska, Indian Territory.

Louis Rogers, Pawhuska, Indian Territory.

E. M. Matthews, Pawhuska, Indian Territory.

C. H. Prudom, Pawhuska, Indian Territory.

Pat Rogers, Pawhuska, Indian Territory.

Hewins & Titus, Cedar Vale, Kansas.

W. S. Brown & Sons, Independence, Kansas.

Crane & Larimer, Independence, Kansas.

Hy Roberts, Kaw Agency, Indian Territory.

Harrison H. Hampton, Bartlesville, Indian Territory.

J. H. Sherburne, Ponca Agency, Indian Territory.

C. M. McClellan, Otoe Agency, Indian Territory.

R. T. Hampton, Bartlesville, Indian Territory.

Drury Warren, Arkansas City, Kansas.

Peter Revard, Elgin, Kansas.

Harkleroad & Irons, Arkansas City, Kansas.

Jos. Greenlee, Kaw Agency, Indian Territory.

John Soderstrom, Farm Creek P. O., Kansas.

C. W. & W. W. Sholes, Fredonia, Kansas.

W. W. Irons...

Winfield Courier, Thursday, May 21, 1885.

The following are the real estate transfers filed in the office of Register of Deeds yesterday.

Alexander Harvey and wife to W. W. Irons, lot 5 sec 4, also lot 8 and pt of lot 7, 4-35-s-e; also pt of lot 1 sec 5 and lot 2, 5-35-s-5e; also w ½ of se ¼ 32-34-s-5, 24 acres: $5,000.

J. W. Irons...

Winfield Courier, Thursday, June 25, 1885.

The following are the real estate transfers, filed in the office of Register of Deeds yesterday.

J W Irons et ux to Mary J Howard, lots 28, blk 60, Ark City: $150.

John W. Irons...

Winfield Courier, Thursday, July 23, 1885.

The following are the real estate transfers, filed in the office of Register of Deeds since our last issue.

Brentess M. Mellen to John W Irons, one-tenth of s ½ se ¼ sec 5 and n ½ ne ¼ 8-35-5e: $250.

John W. Irons...

Arkansas City Traveler, November 25, 1885.

                                                      Cowley County Jottings.

The following meteorological record is furnished us by an old inhabitant of this city, who has devoted some years to registering the weather.

First frost of 1883, Nov. 14th.

First frost of 1884, Oct. 25th.

First frost of 1885, Oct. 3rd.

First wintry day of 1883, Oct. 21.

First wintry day of 1884, Nov. 3rd—cold rain.

First wintry day of 1885, Oct. 12-cold rain.

First snow of 1884, Nov. 16th.

First snow of 1885, Nov. 11th—very slight.

John Irons has a portable saw mill in his timber on Grouse Creek that will soon be furnishing lumber for the residents of that vicinity. Mr. Andrews, on the east of him, has a blacksmith and wagon shop to accommodate anyone needing his services, traveling that way. And Squire Coburn, on the other side of the Grouse, has a schoolhouse and one of the very best of places for a townsite. Now let us go in for the east and west railroad, bridge the Grouse, build a town, and redeem Silverdale.

John Irons...

                                              TORRANCE ITEMS. “DAN.”

Winfield Courier, Thursday, November 26, 1885.

John Irons, on lower Grouse, has a saw mill in his timber. The next thing should be a bridge across Grouse.

W. W. Irons...

                                                      ROAD NOTICES (6).

Winfield Courier, Thursday, January 28, 1886.

5) Petition signed by J. N. Fleharty and others of Silverdale township, asking for a view and a survey for the purpose of locating a certain County Road: Commencing at a ledge of rock about 8 rods more or less east of the southwest corner of northeast quarter of 2:34-5, thence northwesterly by most practicable route around ledge of rock to ½ section line running north and south, thence north about 30 rods, north and northwesterly around ledge of rock by most practicable route to point on half section line about 10 rods north of southwest corner of southeast quarter of 15:34-5, thence north on said half section line to a small stream, thence west 3 rods and 3 links by most practicable route to a point 5 rods and 20 links west of northeast corner of northwest quarter 15:34-5, thence west to northwest corner of said section 15:34-5, thence north on section line between sections 9 and 10 same township and range to connect with what is known as the S. Cottrell road. I. D. Harkleroad, O. S. Gibson, and W. W. Irons, Viewers. N. A. Haight, County Surveyor. February 19, 1886, date set.

Effie Irons???...

Winfield Courier, Thursday, February 4, 1886.

Anthony Lowry and Effie Irons; Geo. P. Schipper and Bertha Barnes were granted matrimonial certificates by Judge Gans Wednesday.

Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Irons have a boy...

Arkansas City Republican, March 20, 1886.

                                                            Silverdale Stubs.

BIRTH. Born to Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Irons, last Thursday, a bouncing boy.

Arkansas City Republican, May 8, 1886.

Ike Harkleroad has purchased the interest of his partner, Mr. Irons, in the cattle business, range fixtures and all. The consideration was $7,600. Hurrah for Ike. Since the State Line propositions have been carried, he wants to invest all of his pocket change.

John Irons ford...

Arkansas City Traveler, August 11, 1886.

The Grouse and Walnut were full and in many places out of their banks last week. At John Irons ford Michael Bruner attempted to cross with his wife and Mrs. Miller, when the wagon was upset and all thrown out. While Mike was saving the women, one of the horses became entangled in the brush and was drowned.

John Irons...


Arkansas City Republican, Saturday, August 21, 1886. From Monday’s Daily.

John Irons’ saw-mill is running again. Mr. Irons has employed new men to run it.


Arkansas City Republican, Saturday, October 23, 1886. From Saturday’s Daily.

Frequent showers on the Creek keeps fall feed in good shape. Some of our farmers were down to the Territory last week and bought some fine cattle to feed this winter. Mr. Irons is one of our moving elements.

Arkansas City Republican, Saturday, March 12, 1887. From Friday’s Daily.

H. O. Brown came in from Silverdale today and called upon the REPUBLICAN. He informs us John Irons is the first farmer to plant corn on the Grouse bottom. Mr. Brown has his land already to plant and will begin next week. He believes in early planting. Last year he had corn planted by the middle of March and he raised a rousing crop.

Arkansas City Republican, Saturday, March 19, 1887. From Monday’s Daily.

John Irons, of Silverdale township, owned the most valuable horse in the west in 1873. He traded a horse in that year to C. M. Scott for 10 lots and owns most of them today. He has sold a couple and for the remaining he has been offered $1,500. Should he sell them now, his horse would net him $2,000. He would have had 10 more lots for another horse, but unfortunately for him the man with whom he was trading attempted to ride the animal and was thrown. This caused the trade to be declared off.

Arkansas City Republican, Saturday, March 26, 1887. From Saturday’s Daily.

J. W. Irons, of Silverdale Township, was in the city today. He informed us a corps of D. M. & A. Surveyors ran a line diagonally across a portion of his farm yesterday, which will cut off about 40 acres of his land. Mr. Irons says if the company would build their line of road 20 rods south of the present survey, he would give them the right-of-way.